Weather sunny distance 10Km Climb 374m
Who in their right mind would expect a day in the middle of an Irish Summer to be a warm summer day and not chucking it down with rain? Well, whoever chose the first day of July to go to the top of the highest mountain in Leinster must have been in his right mind this year because he certainly got it spot on, it was tropical and not a single cloud in sight. Fortunately we were forewarned and each had a plentiful supply of liquid refreshment on board. Four Brothers John Cruise, Noel Doyle, Norman MacLachian and GM designate Dermot Gunn met at Ballinteer for the annual hike up to the summit of Lugnaquilla, the old bitch. This quartet joined up with Brother Robert Dixon, now remarkably re-energised with his new knee, at the start of the walk.
The Zig-Zags make it a relatively easy start and we kept going on up to the style and beyond to Big Jim’s Rock where we sussed. Noel had accompanied us up to the Rock but he didn’t fancy the bit about Fraughen Glen from previous experience and returned via the Zig-Zags whereby the traditional Lug Split was accomplished. When the suss was finished and before we set out once more the GM designate had to divest himself of one layer of clothing because of the oppressive heat. The remaining four now continued on up a very well defined path to the top of Cloghernagh. Once down the other side of Cloghernagh it was a doddle, a long doddle mind you, and we were glad to see the end of it but whiskey was ceremoniously shared at the summit to toast the new Grand Master and that took the pain out of it and geared us up for the daunting finish.
We returned via the Fraughen Rock Glen. Tough doesn’t describe it! The East-West map had the location of the track we were to take right on the button and we headed East following an easily discernable track across a meadow-like plain that eventually turned into a very steep rocky track which needed every bit of concentration in order to avoid a disaster. That final section took about three quarters of an hour to complete and at the end of it we met up with our erstwhile companion who was patiently waiting for us at the start of the long forest road back to Baravore. It was a long day under very trying conditions but nonetheless enjoyable, a walk that had almost everything, distance, height, a smidgen of danger and, thankfully, not a drop of rain!